Paleo Pitfalls
50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet
- Presented by : The premier paleo c...
Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet
1. Not Having A Plan (aka – Jumping Without A
Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet
5. Not Doing Your Homework – If you want to make a
Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet
11. Expecting To Look Life A Fitness Model in 30 Day...
Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet
19. Living Like A Caveman – There are legitimate sci...
Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet
27. Failing to Measure – You can't know where you ar...
Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet
37. Treats – You don't need dessert every night. Try...
Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet
46. Epic Binging – It's fine to have the occasional ...
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Paleo Pitfalls to Avoid


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Switching to a Paleo diet can be challenging. Surviving a paleo challenge is tough. Do you have a paleo plan? Here is a list of 50 traps you can fall into and solutions to keep you out of them. Follow our guidelines and you will pick up paleo like the modern day caveman/cavewoman you really are!

Go to to join a paleo challenge to really put you on track with your diet.

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Paleo Pitfalls to Avoid

  1. 1. Paleo Pitfalls 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet - Presented by : The premier paleo challenge website
  2. 2. Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet 1. Not Having A Plan (aka – Jumping Without A Parachute) - Have you heard of the 6 P's? Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. It's easy to get fired up about transitioning to an ancestral diet. The benefits to your health, energy, body composition, and well being are immense. It's the diet nature designed for the human body. However, if you don't create a plan to succeed you will find eating Paleo quite a bit more difficult than you imagine. If you have a lifetime of neolithic eating (a modern day diet) behind you, you're probably more physically and psychologically addicted to these foods than you realize. Change is going to be a challenge so doing your research, having a high level strategy, and actionable tactics are your best bets for success. 2. Not Building A Support Network – Let's face it, people are social animals. We tend to push ourselves harder in the company of others. It's easy to surrender if you're only accountable to yourself. Going paleo with a group or partner will help. If you really want to bump up the intensity and make your Paleo switch fun and much more likely to turn into a lifestyle, consider joining a Paleo Challenge. BodyAsRx hosts paleo challenges online and allows you to see charts and graphs of your performance and tracks you against your challenge average. 3. Evangelizing Too Much – It's super common for people to become Paleo zealots as they learn about the diet and experience the results themselves. Beware if you find yourself bombarding friends, family, and even complete strangers with your Paleo superiority. The downside of this is you may actually alienate and anger people who will then ostracize you. You may think you're just educating them, but most people think they know all there is to know about food and diet. After all, they've eaten three squares a day for their whole lives so they must be experts. Right? Anyway, don't be the crazy evangelist. You'll get ostracized, become sad and lonely, and then binge on ice cream and cookies to console yourself. 4. Evangelizing Too Little – I know, I said you shouldn't evangelize too much. But you have to have support. It's a fine balance. Publicly acknowledging your Paleo transition will help keep you honest since no one wants to fail publicly. Additionally, letting people know will help them make accommodations for you. If she's in the loop, Mom might make you a Paleo option for Sunday dinner instead of shoveling pound cake down your throat. Another great thing to do is network with peers who eat paleo or are switching too. Paleo Challenges are great for this. Presented by BodyAsRx – The premier Paleo Challenge website. Page 2 of 8
  3. 3. Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet 5. Not Doing Your Homework – If you want to make a lifestyle change, you need to understand what you're doing and why. Are you trying paleo because it's the “in” thing? Or are you trying to effect a change in your health, energy levels, and body composition? Do you know why Paleo works other than it's the diet that the human body evolved eating for millions of years? Do you know what's wrong with a modern diet and why it's killing people one bite at a time? 6. Fail To Analyze Progress – Once you've transitioned to paleo and the siren song of ice cream sundae has lost it's allure you probably don't need to analyze your progress all the time. But how about if you are just starting out on paleo? You need to analyze your progress. There are a number of ways to do this. Pictures. Looking in the mirror. Body fat testing. Performance testing. Cholesterol testing. Etc. 7. Failure to Adjust - So you've got a strategy. Great. Are you assessing how well your transition is going after the first few days? Week? Weeks? Are there things that are working for you? Not working? Is something particulaly difficult? Lots of people on paleo struggle with breakfast at first. If that's you have. 8. Using the Wrong Measurements For Success - This one can be tricky. Everyone loves to focus on numbers but don't discount the value of subjective measurements. Most people focus on the scale. Ditch it for at least the first month of eating Paleo. Establish healthy eating habits and don't worry about your weight. Persistence and consistency will see you adapt to your optimal body composition but paleo is no silver bullet that will give you six-pack abs in 30 days. Nothing works like that. Except maybe liposuction. Measure success by how you feel, how you look in the mirror, and how your clothes fit. 9. Being Too Extreme – Don't be brittle, like glass. Glass shatters at the first sharp blow. Swtiching from your neolithic eating habits to an ancestral diet is a journey. You will definitely hit some bumps in the road. Recognize this, embrace it, and keep moving forward. You need to flow around obstacles, like water flows around rocks in a river. As Bruce Lee said, “be water, my friend.” 10. Eating Buckets Of Fruit – Yes, fruit is perfectly paleo. No, it's not the best choice if you're over consuming it. Your cave dwelling ancestors didn't chow down on fruit salad, fruit smoothies, and dehydrated fruit year around and at every meal. Neither should you. Fruit is loaded with fructose, a naturally occurring sugar. You want to minimize fructose consumption. Cutting out excess sugars will make your transition to paleo easier, regulate your hormonal response to foods, and help adjust your body composition. Presented by BodyAsRx – The premier Paleo Challenge website. Page 3 of 8
  4. 4. Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet 11. Expecting To Look Life A Fitness Model in 30 Days – This just isn't going to happen. Accept it. Your body composition will shift, especially if your exercising, but don't expect a perfect beach body in 30 days. You'll get it, but it'll take time and persistence. Besides, the cosmetic benefits of a paleo diet pale in comparison to the health benefits. Be patient and be disciplined. 12. Eating Paleo Junk Food – Certain foods are technically paleo and super convenient, especially if you're not at home. Nuts, dried fruit, and some pre-packaged bars are all better options than chips or cookies, but don't make a habit of ignoring good, quality, whole foods in favor of convenience. Paleo snack foods should be the exception and not the rule in your diet. 13. Keeping “Food” In The Pantry – I don't care how many hundreds of dollars worth of “food” is sitting on your pantry cupboards. Toss out the oreos, pasta, flour, candy, baking stuff, boxed mixes, grains, etc. These things aren't food and they'll just tempt you in a moment of weakness and derail you. If it makes you feel virtuous, donate those “foods” to a homeless shelter. Then go buy some real food to restock. 14. Going Nuts With Nuts - Nuts are Paleo but they are calorically dense. If you're trying to lose weight and you eat pound of almonds a day then guess what? You not only won't lose weight, you may put some on! Also, most nuts don't have a favorable ratio of Omega 3/6/9 fatty acids. Remember, Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and omega-6s are pro-inflammatory. Your best nut options are walnuts and pecans. They have the highest ratio of omega-3s. So if it's a choice between a handful of walnuts or a slice of chocolate cake, eat walnuts. Another note this topic is almond flour and nut butters. Use them in moderation as they can disguise how much nut you're actually consuming. 15. Freaking Out Over Fat – Fat doesn't make you fat. In fact, you need fats in your diet. Fat leaves you feeling satiated both helps and slows down nutrient absorption. Not only that, but it elicits a neutral hormonal response (no insulin or glucagon release). So don't be scared of fats, embrace them as a delicious part of you paleo diet. 16. Unrestricted Eating – If all you're eating is broccoli, kale, and chicken then the quantity of food you eat is irrelevant. But if you are adding in lots of nuts or fruit, see #10 and #14 above, then calories do matter. Manage your portion control and choose quality paleo foods for your best results. 17. Fixation - There are lots of to tweaks available to your diet that all fall within the paleo spectrum. Don't get tunnel vision on eating one specific thing. If it is not working for you, experiment and find what does. Focus on selecting quality food sources. Play around with the macronutrient balance (protein/carbohydrate/fat) of your meals. 18. Dwelling On Slip Ups – Things happen. Maybe you broke down and ate a slice of cake at your Mom's birthday party. Don't use this as an excuse to eat a bunch of junk, or derail yourself, or sink into depression. Things happen. You will cheat on your paleo diet occasionally. Just try to minimize those times and move on. Strive to be as good as possible but cut yourself a break. Eating Mom's birthday cake isn't the end of the world. Presented by BodyAsRx – The premier Paleo Challenge website. Page 4 of 8
  5. 5. Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet 19. Living Like A Caveman – There are legitimate scientific reasons to eat a paleo diet. We evolved with this diet, but that doesn't mean you have view every facet of life through a paleolithic lens. No, cavemen didn't have computers, cable TV, air conditioning, modern medicine, beer, or McMansions. That doesn't mean those things are bad (yes, yes, I know, beer isn't paleo. I just slipped that in to see if you were paying attention). Combine the best of both worlds and reap the benefits of a biologically optimal diet with modern luxuries. 20. Sleeping Poorly - Sleep is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle. If you aren't sleeping well, it doesn't matter how well you eat or exercise, you won't ever achieve optimal health. Sleep is crucial for mental well being and physical recovery. Catch your Zzz's. 21. Justifying – “But red wine has resveratrol and it's made from grapes so a glass (or two) is ok.” “Sure, I'll have a square of that dark chocolate since it's loaded with antioxidants.” “I'll just have a soy milk latte sweetened with Stevia” If you have to justify what you're eating to make it fit the paleo mold then you probably shouldn’t have it, or at least decrease how often you do. 22. Shunning The Sun – Most people are woefully deficient in Vitamin D and just eating a paleo diet is not going to fix that. Vitamin D helps with nutrient absorption, immune system regulation, and has even been linked with maintaining a healthy body weight. You want Vitamin D. Now here's the good news. Vitamin D is free! All you've got to do is get some exposure to direct sunlight and your body will manufacture the stuff for you! 23. Refusing to Cook – Yeah, yeah, I know we are all busy and we live in the age of convenience. Pre-packaged or pre- made food sure is convenient but not cooking severely limits you food choices and you relinquish control over the quality. Cooking doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. It can actually be fast and fun. If you need help with cooking paleo meals, there are plenty of cookbooks available. 24. Becoming a Hermit – You don't have to abstain from social occasions or dining out at restaurants just because you're eating a paleolithic diet. Just be cognizant of the foods available to you and eat accordingly. Most restaurants will accommodate paleo substitutions such as steamed vegetables instead of starches. If you're a social eater and find that it’s too difficult to eat differently from everyone else, try planning social events that don't focus on food or volunteer to cook for everyone. 25. Obsessing About Cheat Meals – Paleo shouldn't be boring. If you find yourself spending a whole week planning out a binge meal of your favorite pre-paleo foods then you need to take a step back and evaluate your approach to paleo. Invest in a good paleo cookbook. 26. Ignoring Fitness – If picking up a fork is your only exercise, you need to change. Part of the paleo lifestyle is physical fitness. Contrary to our modern existence, where we sit drive then sit and stare at computers all day, our bodies are designed for physical use. Get out, move around, and pick up heavy things. While eating right is the best thing you can do for your health and well being, exercise will take you to a whole other level of wellness. If you're totally deconditioned just get up and walk. Walk a little farther and a little faster every day. If you're a gym rat, get into CrossFit or other fitness program. Presented by BodyAsRx – The premier Paleo Challenge website. Page 5 of 8
  6. 6. Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet 27. Failing to Measure – You can't know where you are if you don't know where you've been. When you live in your own skin it's hard to assess change day to day. After a month or two or six of paleo you may not notice any differences anymore. But those changes are there. You just need to track them to see all the improvements. There are plenty of metrics you can track: weight, body fat, cholesterol, bone density, VO2 max, physical fitness (5k run, 1 rep max deadlift, etc.), and more. 28. Following The Herd. The herd is digging their graves with their teeth. Once you commit to paleo you need to start filtering out all the bogus conventional wisdom about “healthy” foods. 29. Not Persevering – Any behavior change is hard. Changing your diet is exceptionally challenging since you're likely addicted to certain foods like they're crack. Don't give up. You've got to stick with it, persevere, and be patient. 30. Clinging – You've committed to paleo but are you still drinking diet sodas? Justifying your wine or lattes? Trying to make paleo muffins? Stop the madness! This struggle to cling to your old favorites is making your life much more difficult. Put your big boy/girl pants on and go cold turkey. One easy way to let go is to have a support group do it with you. Join a paleo challenge. 31. Having The Wrong Goals – Many people will probably be attracted to paleo for weight loss. Yes, if you're overweight you will lose weight. However, this is a lifestyle, not a short term deal. In addition to getting your “beach body” ready you should also try to focus on broad, general, and inclusive goals such as feeling better, moving better, more energy, better quality of life, etc. 32. Lack of Self Awareness – At some point you may find yourself all alone, in the dark, with a box of donuts staring at you. Do you have a plan for that? We all do stuff to sabotage ourselves. Know what your weaknesses are and have a plan to deal with them. 33. Macronutrient Balance – Are you eating T-bone steaks with eggs and a side of sausage? Or maybe just fruit smoothies and green salads. You're going to have a problem. You definitely want to balance your carbs (from vegetables and some fruit!) with your proteins. Fats are hormonally neutral but calorically dense. Mix all three macronutrients every time tyou eat for best results. 34. Dehydration - Hydration is very important. If your body were a car, water would be the oil in your engine. Water helps maintain normal body functions, helps muscles and joints work well, cleanses toxins from the body, and just plain slakes your thirst. Try to get at least half your body weight in ounces a day. 35. Are you taking any medications that could cause weight gain? - There's not much you can do if you need a prescription medication. The key is need. Know what medications you are taking and why. Ditch those that are unnecessary. 36. Not Looking for Hidden non-Paleo Ingredients? - Always, always, always check the labels when you buy packaged foods. You'll be surprised at how much sugar, salt, and preservatives are added to things. Optimally you're shopping on the periphery of the grocery story which is stocked with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. But if you make the occasional foray into the inner aisles, make sure you read the labels on everything headed into your shopping cart. Presented by BodyAsRx – The premier Paleo Challenge website. Page 6 of 8
  7. 7. Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet 37. Treats – You don't need dessert every night. Try to curb your sweet tooth. Your treats may be made with paleo ingredients but do you really need those every day? 38. Stress – If you're constantly stressed out chances are that making a behavioral change is going to be very hard for you. Especially one involving food. When you're stressed your body releases cortisol, a hormone that with prolonged exposure, which leads to a host of nasty side effects such as heart disease, depression, obesity, etc. Word to the wise... chill out. 39. Not Eating Enough – Eating paleo does not mean you are supposed to be hungry all the time. You need to eat more than lettuce leaves and chicken breasts. I promise that you will be miserable if that's how you're eating. You not only need to eat your fill, you may need to add extra fats, especially if you're physically active. 40. Assuming It's Paleo - This applies mostly to packaged foods and food ordered at restaurants. Look at the labels. It's common to find sugar, salt, nitrates, and other toxic stuff hiding in supposedly healthy packaged foods. Ask waiters how your food is prepared. Never assume something is paleo. 41. Listening to Bad Advice – Does your Mom assure you that [bread, rice, oatmeal, pasta] are healthy? There are plenty of people who think they're experts. Do your research, know why you're eating what your eating, and don't be swayed by armchair quarterbacks. 42. Not Understanding The Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load - Food is a drug in the sense that you have a physiological response to what you eat. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measurement of how fast blood sugar rises after eating a certain food. The GI scale ranges from 0 to 100. Lower is better. Glycemic Load (GL) is based on the GI but takes portion into account to give you a more accurate data point on how food will affect you. GL is calculated as follows: GI/100 * Net Carbs per serving (total carbohydrate – dietary fiber). To see why this calculation is important, look at Watermelon. It has a GI of 72 (high), however, it's GL is only 3 (very low!) due to the high volume of water per serving. It can also show how foods with comparable GI have a totally different impact on the body. For example carrots have a GI of 47 and Corn Torillas, 52. However, their respective Gls are: carrots, 3.5 (low) and corn tortillas, 25 (high). 43. Not Eating Enough Veggies – One bagel is equivalent to 8 cups of broccoli. You are most certainly not eating enough vegetables if you have a few lettuce leaves, a carrot, and the occasional brussel sprout. 44. Trying to Make Everything “Paleo” – Many people new to paleo try to create “acceptable” versions of their former favorite foods. Paleo muffins, breads, cookies, etc. The “paleo” versions are usually nowhere near as good as your memory of Grandma's baked goods. I know, you miss bagels, muffins, and cookies and are desperate to find substitutes. Suck it up buttercup! Keep you eye on the big picture and save your treats for the rare cheats. 45. Carbophobia – Carbs are not devil spawn. There, I said it. Carbs are a required macronutrient. Fruit and veggies are carbs. The bad carbohydrates are those you get from grains and sugars. So eat plenty of carbs, just choose the good ones. Presented by BodyAsRx – The premier Paleo Challenge website. Page 7 of 8
  8. 8. Paleo Pitfalls: 50 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching to the Paleo Diet 46. Epic Binging – It's fine to have the occasional cheat meal. Lots of people will have a weekly cheat. However, there's a big difference between gluten free pizza and beer and a full night of binging on oreos, hot dogs, ice cream, and french fries. Try to keep your cheats within reason and don't go crazy. 47. Drinking – Is wine paleo? Sure, grapes are paleo and wine is simply fermented grape juice. However, it's also loaded with sugar. The occasional glass is fine. Don't drink the bottle. Another good option is the NorCal Margarita (tequila, lime juice, and a spalsh of seltzer water) made popular by Robb Wolf. 48. Not Supplementing With Fish Oil – Our ancestors had a much higher ratio of Omega3 fatty acids in their diet. Even when eating paleo, you may not be getting enough Omega3s simply because our meat (unless you buy grass fed and finished meats or hunt wild game) is farmed in a neolithic fashion and consequently the fatty acid profile of the meat is altered to have an unfavorable Omega3-6-9 ratio. One easy way to remedy your death of dietary Omega3 intake is to take a quality fish oil supplement. My personal recommendation is to take 3 grams of fish oil per day. I prefer liquid as opposed to capsules. 49. Only Eating Lean Protein – You need fats. Loren Cordain wrote about consuming lean proteins in his seminal text, The Paleo Diet. He has since modified that statement to apply to neolithic meat sources. If you're eating grass fed and finished or wild game, feel free to indulge in the fatty cuts. 50. Ignoring Hidden Toxins - This is a modern day problem. Plastics contain all kinds of toxins that can leach into food and poison you. Avoid plastic containers and cooking utensils. Abandon your teflon pans. Don't ever microware plastic wrap. Time to invest in some nice stainless steel cookware and glass or pyrex containers Presented by BodyAsRx – The premier Paleo Challenge website. Page 8 of 8 About the Author Steve Vanderbok is a former elite athlete with a passion for health and fitness. He is an entrepreneur, Crossfit affiliate, and owner of BodyAsRx which provides turn key paleo challenge services for boxes, boutique gyms, and celebrities, and others. For more go to
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